Articles | Volume 18, issue 2
Research article
28 Feb 2014
Research article |  | 28 Feb 2014

PERSiST: a flexible rainfall-runoff modelling toolkit for use with the INCA family of models

M. N. Futter, M. A. Erlandsson, D. Butterfield, P. G. Whitehead, S. K. Oni, and A. J. Wade

Abstract. Runoff generation processes and pathways vary widely between catchments. Credible simulations of solute and pollutant transport in surface waters are dependent on models which facilitate appropriate, catchment-specific representations of perceptual models of the runoff generation process. Here, we present a flexible, semi-distributed landscape-scale rainfall-runoff modelling toolkit suitable for simulating a broad range of user-specified perceptual models of runoff generation and stream flow occurring in different climatic regions and landscape types. PERSiST (the Precipitation, Evapotranspiration and Runoff Simulator for Solute Transport) is designed for simulating present-day hydrology; projecting possible future effects of climate or land use change on runoff and catchment water storage; and generating hydrologic inputs for the Integrated Catchments (INCA) family of models. PERSiST has limited data requirements and is calibrated using observed time series of precipitation, air temperature and runoff at one or more points in a river network. Here, we apply PERSiST to the river Thames in the UK and describe a Monte Carlo tool for model calibration, sensitivity and uncertainty analysis.